Diverse Products of Cocos nucifera are Admired for Usefulness
in Homes and Industries”
("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 45, Series No. 11, 1 November 2015)
is the usefulness of the Cocos nucifera that is an advantage
for the industry amongst its sister tree crops known even
in modern day agriculture sector. To get to the nut itself
one has to remove the husk from the coconut revealing the
shell that protects and contains the kernel and water. Significant
quantities and volumes of coconut husk, shell and water would
not reach a market for cash income to be generated for farmers
as a result of the traditional copra making process that seeks
out to harvest only the kernel for raw material using the
shell mostly to burn for heating source to dry the kernel
to produce what is referred to as copra. Copra can then be
exported in bulk shipment or in many countries crushed and
sold as crude coconut oil with world market prices at over
US$600 per MT and US$1,000 per MT respectively.
APCC 2015 visit in India of the coconut sector in southern
provinces of Tamil Nadu and Kerala there was clear demonstration
of whole nut processing in most areas with end products of
very good quality. This was also evident at the Kerala Coir
Trade Fair and Exhibits held at the time of the visit with
many international traders visiting and negotiating purchases
of the many categories of coir products.
China is the leading importer of nearly 50% of total global
production of coir products with total world market value
of US$750 million. India obviously leads the exporting countries
with Sri Lanka and Indonesia, these three make up nearly 80%
of exports. India’s monthly export volume of coir and
coir product is over 260,000 MT valued at over US$100 million.
The good news is that demand for coir continues to grow. The
challenge is in maintaining prices at levels that are attractive
to sustain sales volumes as indicated by declines in second
half of 2015 in Sri Lanka and in Indonesia for raw fibre.
Technology advancements in husk processing look at developing
machinery for higher productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Simple farm-based machines such as the de-husking and the
decorticating machines are not only an improvement but appear
to be at affordable prices. The coir industry continues to
grow and with good quality products coming on to the market
it should develop a positive outlook for the years ahead.
Revitalisation of the coconut sector globally would be an
appropriate development agenda for the governments of coconut
growing countries whose rural population are largely dependent
on farm income. In the last few months, encouraging news was
received of efforts in most Asian countries to source the
best planting material available and the potential for specific
end products to be determined by what material is planted.
If, over 100% increase each month is recorded by countries
such as Sri Lanka and India in the production of virgin coconut
oil is an indication, then similar or increasing trend of
production is about to be experienced in short to medium term
period ahead of us in other countries. The planting of new
coconut trees has to be high amongst the national development
priorities of coconut growing nations in Asia and Pacific
regions to be able to keep up with the increasing demand for
coconuts as raw material.